It’s always a good time to take better care of direct sales and increase them, right?
Direct contact between the guest and the hotel, both by telephone and through the web or social networks, has taken on great importance in this pandemic.
This large increase has caused many hoteliers to go from passive or neutral attitudes to considering direct sales as a strategic pillar in their distribution.
In this article we want to tell shed some light over this new phenomenon and how to make the most of it.
What are the reasons guests prefer direct booking?
Customers are looking for truthful information about the hotel.
Uncertainty as it best in this new world, customers make an effort to find information from the source: nothing better than the hotel website! Information on other channels may not be as updated.
The constant updating of opening dates, services offered, open areas and protocols must be announced in this way to achieve greater trust and transparency with the guest.
- There is no fear of buying online
The way of purchasing has completely changed and we all had to update ourselves.
We lived many months locked up at home. The Internet and mobile devices in particular became our companions for many hours.
For many months, the only way to book a trip has been online. This has helped many to lose their fear of booking and buying online.
In addition, hotels have understood the importance of having Booking Engines integrated with secure payment platforms for the guest’s peace of mind.
- Loyalty, the key to direct sales
Those hotels that had loyal and well identified customers were able to rely on them to start the recovery and generate these first reservations, instead of using other channels.
Nothing better for many clients than to go to a hotel they already knew for this new normality. Loyalty once again demonstrated its strategic importance.
To reward your guests for choosing your hotel is key today: offers are voracious and clients have many options to choose from (surely your level of hotel at lower prices).
The role of an effective database or CRM will get you organized.
- Bad experiences due to the pandemic.
Unfortunately, a frequent issue during pandemic were airlines, operators and many other tourism actors not responding face to face to their guests claims, cancellations or changes in their reservations.
Therefore, a good reputation plus quick and clear responses in your direct channels are highly valued.
- Better terms on your web than in OTAs.
Keeping this policy and combining it with loyalty benefits will make your guest choose your hotel directly.
Remember the importance of your hotel being connected to Metasearch engines (Google Hotel Ads, TripAdvisor, Trivago): in a single click they will be able to compare prices between OTAs and your website.
- Domestic tourism
Same language and time zone. There are many local clients and it’s easier for them to contact your hotel via the web or by phone to make inquiries or bookings.
Local calls, unlike international onces, are lower in cost for your guest.
Name – Hotel brand. It is easier to recognize and identify within the host’s area or region facilitating direct sales.
- Greater flexibility of online channels to quickly reactivate.
In the event of a last minute change, the hotel may use its online channels (web, social networks, WhatsApp) to communicate information to its community and future guests.
For example, if the hotel announces on Instagram its opening with the available areas and promotions with -including a direct link to its Booking Engine – it is very likely it will receive inquiries and direct reservations through this channel.
Although direct sales had been gaining weight for years the pandemic has definitely established a turning point: it used to be one more channel and it has now become the most relevant channel for recovery.
Many of the changes that occurred during this time will cease to be temporary to become structural, offering a great opportunity for hotels to consolidate and enhance their direct channel strategy.
The really important thing for your hotel is to maximize profit and to create a sustainable model between direct sales and intermediaries. In the search for this balance, it is evident that direct sales have a fundamental role and which will continue to grow.